Sometimes I miss the good chaos

posted by Jeff | Friday, July 24, 2020, 5:00 PM | comments: 0

Losing another cat had me thinking about all of the time, and moves, I made with her. And then, looking for a good picture of her required looking through a great many unrelated photos, so the rush of memories and feelings covering the last dozen years or so... there's so much there.

The memory inventory reminded me a lot of the various times that I just felt... icky. There were some low points between relationships, the feeling of regret leaving Seattle, the despair of late 2001. But there were times of great excitement and optimism, too. Dating Diana more seriously, moving to Seattle (and everything that went with it), having a child, moving to Florida, leaving a convenient job to join a startup, building two houses. Lots of that caused plenty of anxiety, but it was good anxiety, mostly. Swirling in the chaos of opportunity and potential is invigorating.

I kind of miss that, to an extent. In November, we will have lived in the same house for three years straight, and by March that will be a record for us staying put. Six moves in eight years was exhausting, I don't recommend that, but there was something kind of cool about it. (Excluding the SEA to CLE move, because of the aforementioned regret.) Even now, we're pretty actively thinking about what life looks like when Simon is sent out into the world, and it doesn't involve living in this McMansion. Not sure how I got this way, because in my previous life I just assumed I'd live and die in Cleveland and that would be OK.

Isn't it funny that a global pandemic causes you to evaluate what normal even is? I used to find comfort in familiarity, but now I find it in depth. The richness of life to me is finding the deeper experiences. For example, a job where everything is changing all of the time leads to more satisfying outcomes because the challenge is rarely the same day to day. Every visit to New York City (talk about chaos!) involves meeting new people, seeing new things. It would seem like seeing a show several times would be an exercise in familiarity, but really it's one of depth, where you observe more things each time you see it. It isn't enough collect things and build a portfolio, I want to be deeply intimate with the things I engage in. Chaos agitates your surroundings, making it easier to find the depth.

The world is chaotic, but the nature of the pandemic chaos is to force your daily life into something that lacks chaos. I associate chaos with mobility, which I associate with depth of experience. It's a strange phenomenon.

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